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“In August 2002 I married myself in a ceremony celebrated with some close friends in the Minnesota North Woods!
I had decided to do that after hearing about someone ”marrying themselves” and it seemed with time like a great, caring, and supportive act of love. This was especially true in response to my long-held previous patterns in relationship: For years I had noticed really high needs for validation, attention, and affection–all wonderful natural parts of partnership, of course, but due to some childhood challenges similar to what many people these days have faced, not playing out in healthy proportions or forms. So, after considering it for about two years, including what it did and didn’t mean to me, I decided to do this ceremony and to marry myself.
Because my spiritual community is very creative in focus, gender-fluid, and often somewhat theatrical in its expression of ritual celebration forms, I decided on the following: I wanted to playfully externalize the former emotional neediness that I was leaving behind. So I started out dressed in a beaded white wedding gown (which took about a year to find in thrift shops because I am a 6’3″ tall man) with a perfectly hideous beaded head thing that still makes my eyes bulge to recall. (No, you may not see the pictures.)
I was a bride getting stood up at her own wedding so I threw a really melodramatic hissy-fit on the lawn, which I had watered down to get the grass good and wet. Screaming and crying and pounding on the ground, I rolled around to get the neediness out of my system and grass stains all over the dress. I sprayed Redi-Whip in my mouth so I would literally appear to be foaming at the mouth. My guests loved all of this.
Along with the joking histrionics, I let the hurtful emotions of too-much-aloneness pass, and became calm with myself as I sat on the lawn with Etta James crooning “Stormy Weather”. Then, as she went into the slow swells of “At Last”–which nobody on the planet pours out like Etta does, a love song if ever there was one–I fell in love with myself while looking into a hand mirror, just breathing and meeting my own eyes. I peeled back the upper half of the wedding gown now and felt the sun on my skin, like a butterfly climbing out of a chrysalis. As the song ended, so did the playful externalization of the emo-patterns I was ritually leaving behind forever, and I stood, surrounded by my close friends. I gave myself a silver and lavendar opal ring as a token of my commitment to be my own primary partner in life, and I spoke vows to myself that came right from my heart.
It was a great day of my life. It effected the cleansing I intended in my relationship to relationships, so to speak, easing the burden of closeness and intimacy by taking them onto my own shoulders, and opening my heart for healthier, happier secondary and nonetheless committed connections with others, as well. Since my Marriage to Self, I have felt a deep sense of peace and safety, belonging and just plain love. My centering is within myself and I bring that now to others I am involved with both romantically and non-romantically.
When I met Dominique, almost nine years after my Marriage to Self, and she told me about this work she does, my mouth nearly fell open. Hers nearly did, too, when I told her my story and we both laughed about it but I also knew absolutely that she understood the work I’d done with and for myself, and its support for my ability to show up healthily in relationships and life. If I still had that work before me now, I would be thrilled to have her support in thinking through and setting up a ceremony that is right for me, so I recommend her to you in that vein. And frankly, as I write this, I am wondering about consulting with her about doin’ a little somethin’ for my tenth anniversary of authentically and powerfully loving myself … !!”
Heron Saline, CHT CMT